DepEd admits it has ‘no budget’ for COVID-19 infected personnel

Published August 11, 2020, 5:00 PM

by Merlina Hernando-Malipot

An official of the Department of Education (DepEd) on Tuesday clarified there are no funds allocated for the medication, treatment, or hospitalization of personnel who contracted COVID-19.

“There is none in DepEd budget and I think all other national government agencies don’t have this budget item in their budget as well,” DepEd Undersecretary for Finance Annalyn Sevilla said. 

Sevilla added it is only the Department of Health (DOH) “which has a mandate to use government funds for hospitalization/treatment.”

She believes this should be raised to the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) and Commission on Audit (COA) “because even if we want to assist and support our employees, we don’t have budget cover and authority to use the DepEd budget for such.”   

Meanwhile, Sevilla said that all government employees are covered by the Philhealth insurance – thus, “all medical/hospitalization/treatment needs of DepEd personnel can be covered by said health insurance.” 

DepEd, she added, also has partnered with DOH and local government units (LGUs) in terms of referral of DepEd employees needing care and monitoring due to COVID-related cases.

“The DOH and LGUs are authorized government units to spend for health services,” she explained. 

Sevilla also noted that DepEd has in its budget the supplies and support mechanism needed to implement the minimum health standards in the workplace and schools. “We use our budget to ensure safety and protection of our learners, teachers, personnel and stakeholders,” she added.

DepEd, Sevilla added, also ordered that an “amount to subsidize indicated testing for learners, teachers and personnel, subject to availability of funds and applicable budget and accounting regulations” can be set aside for this. 

“We will coordinate with PhilHealth for an arrangement on the applicable package that they can cover,” she ended.